Netflix reached a new high of 260.8 million total paid subscribers as it anticipated adding WWE fans in 2025 in the wake of its blockbuster deal.
Netflix shares rose as much as 7% in after-hours trading Tuesday after the streaming giant reported its 2023 fourth-quarter earnings.
Netflix added 13.1 million subscribers in Q4, reaching a new high of 260.8 million total paid subscribers. The streamer far outpaced expectations that forecasted it would attract between 8 and 9 million new members. Netflix’s latest earnings report comes on the same day it announced that it will become the new home of WWE RAW beginning in January 2025, a streaming deal that’s estimated to be valued at more than $5 billion.
Netflix and WWE’s parent company, TKO Group, inked a long-term partnership that exclusively brings RAW to a streaming service for the first time. The weekly wrestling program has been aired via linear TV outlets since its inception 31 years ago. When the deal kicks off next year, RAW will exclusively air on Netflix in the U.S., Canada, the U.K., and Latin America, with more countries and regions expected to roll out.
Despite the big move, Netflix told investors on its Q4 earnings call that it has no bigger plans to acquire linear assets, so don’t expect Netflix to buy TV networks any time soon.
“As our competitors adjust to these changes, it’s logical to expect further consolidation, particularly among companies with large and declining linear networks,” the company said in its earnings report. “We’re not interested in acquiring linear assets. Nor do we believe that further M&A among traditional entertainment companies will materially change the competitive environment given all the consolidation that has already happened over the last decade.”
Further solidifying this point, Netflix has invested heavily in recent years in original production. This risk has paid off, as Netflix led all streaming platforms with 18 Oscar nominations during Tuesday’s announcements. Apple, Searchlight, and Universal each followed with 13.
There was a lot of more good news coming out of Netflix’s earnings report. The streaming giant generated $8.83 billion in revenue, which slightly beat projections of $8.71 billion and showed 12% growth year-over-year. Netflix forecasts that it’ll generate $9.2 billion in revenue in the first quarter of 2024. However, it didn’t quantify how many subscribers it expects to add. Overall, Netflix said in the report that it expects double-digit revenue growth across this full year, primarily driven by membership increases.
Netflix’s positive financial outlook comes nearly seven months after it put its password crackdown plan into effect. So far, it looks like that major shift has been paying off.
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